|Supplementary Entries and Texts for the
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF KOREAN BUDDHISM
by the Venerable Hyewon and Professor David A. Mason
|Correction of an Error in an Entry:
Jajang (Master Jajang-yulsa) top of page 323
In the first paragraph of page 323, within the Jajang entry, it says that Queen Seondeok
"assigned him to be a high minister before he formally became a monk, but he declined
the offer..." -- that is a mistake; it was actually King Jinpyeong (진평왕 眞平王.
r. 579–632) that summoned Jajang to office and was refused.
I would further note here that this story of being offered high office and refusing it,
sending a poem to the king that he'd rather serve as a monk one more day than be
a famous / powerful man for 100 years, and having that accepted as wisdom, was
also a well-known Chinese tale told about Zhuang-zi (a.k.a. Chuang Tzu, 莊子,
Zhuang Zhou) and contained in the famous book of that name about him. The only
significant difference is that Zhuang wanted to remain a free philosopher and not a
monk; there was no concept of Daoist monasticism at that time. Zhuang is said to have
lived in northern China 369-286 BCE, the book was first composed in the 3rd century
BCE and has always been one of the most famous texts in China; we can be certain
that it was known of in ancient Korea. Therefore, this story attributed to the early life
of Master Jajang in the Samguk Yusa might well have been borrowed from Zhuang-zi.